What is Drywall?
If your house was built n the last 50 years then it is very likely that your walls and ceiling are made from drywall.
Drywall is basically the modern-day alternative to old-fashioned hand-applied plaster and has all-but replaced plaster use in newer homes.
It is a fantastic material that is used to cover framing on your walls and ceilings, it is very low on cost and is very DIY friendly.
Drywall is made much like plaster, and plaster of Paris are both made. This is due to it using the same main component in its ingredients as these others, this is known as a substance called Gypsum.
Gypsum is a non-toxic material of which is mined in over 85 different countries worldwide. It has a chemical make-up that is made from, calcium and sulfur which are bound to both oxygen and water.
The crystals that come from this substance are then ground down into a fine, white powder that will bind then into a solid mass when they are mixed with water and this is then mixed up and creates plaster, plaster of Paris, and drywall all the same.
How Much Weight Can It Hold?
When you move home you will always be immediately excited to decorate your new home, moving in furniture, perhaps painting or wallpapering and of course, covering those bland walls in things that tell you ‘this is home’.
Perhaps you have a beautiful picture or painting, some ‘floating’ shelves or you might be considering wall-mounting your TV.
Sadly if you do any of these things you’ll be in for a shock, if you try to put a thin-bodied nail into the drywall with no supporting backboard, then your painting, picture, or shelves will fall down the wall in a disappointing display.
To hang an object on your wall you need to look into some facts about dealing with drywall and wall hangings.
First of all, a game changer is what you will use to hang the object with, and of course, don’t forget what angle you intend to hang it at all. If you do it right, then your wall may be able to support an object weighing up to or at 100lbs.
Wall Studs and Joists
Drywall is versatile and durable but it’s also fairly brittle and can crumble easily when objects are applied with no backboard. It doesn’t hold nails as well as other materials such as wood or even plaster.
Putting a nail into drywall will not last very long, even if it is something tiny and feather-light, eventually it’ll slip, crumble and drop. Leaving you with a mess you don’t want or need.
Is there a way around this? Of course, there is or we wouldn’t be where we are. You can aim to hang your items on something such as a wall stud.
These are the vertical framing members place between 16” to 24” apart on the other side of the wall, you can often find these either via a stud finder or by tapping the wall horizontally until it sounds more hard than hollow.
You can try it by simply knocking and listening to the sound, you may have seen this done in films or TV.
How much you can hold here varies depending on what you hang it with. A 1.5” nail at a 45-degree angle can hold up to 20lbs for example. This is enough for a medium-sized frame or perhaps a small hanging pot planter.
Screws will give you more. Several large screws can hold 100lbs if they are driven into a wall stud. Ceilings, on the other hand, are more troublesome, this is thanks to drywall and gravity.
You could easily be looking at a drywall ceiling crumbling at so little as a small planter hanging from it. Fans and lighting fixtures are reinforced due to their requirements so don’t cause problems quite like other ceiling decors.
Adding joists can salvage this, but we recommend a 2 x 4 joist and blocking to best combat the issues that drywall ceiling can cause.
What about Anchors?
If you use the right type of wall anchor and you drive them into the studs correctly, then the drywall anchors should be able to hold about 50lbs.
When you are putting up picture frames, planters, or shelves, for example, it is always best to drive your hanging hardware into a stud.
These are the same studs that we mentioned earlier, at around 16” to 24” apart in your wall. However, if you do not have a stud to use then you will want to use an anchor for your household decor to combat the issues studless-hanging could ensue.
Neglecting to use anchors if you do not have a stud available will basically just cause a bit of a mess, as whatever your hanging eventually weighs down and crumbles at your drywall.
This is especially problematic if you have a household in which doors are slammed often or on occasion, and the walls get rattled. Drywall is far from strong enough to hold anything significant for a substantial amount of time.
To insert an anchor you first want to use a drill to create a small hole in the area where you want to put the anchor (yes it literally looks like an anchor).
You can also use a screwdriver to do this job, if you do this, however, make sure that the screwdriver is smaller than the anchor you are going to insert, doing so will ensure the anchor is unlikely to fall out.
Next, you want to insert your anchor until it is aligned with the wall, if it doesn’t seem to want to go in, give it a tap with a hammer to give it that extra push.
Then grab your screw and screw it into the anchor, leaving a good quarter of the screw out for you to hang your items onto.
There are also other methods available for doing this, such as using, expanding plastic sleeves, hangers and nails, tap-in anchors, toggle bolts, hanky hooks, adhesive strips, threaded toggle, and molly bolts.
Here’s an informative video on different types of fixings!